Liverpool’s first ever ‘Car Free Day’, 22nd September 2019
“The best road closure in this city since the Mathew St fesi” – Danny, Peloton Liverpool
It was audacious, by any standards.
Less than three months after convening our first community meeting, we put ourselves forward to host Liverpool’s first ever event to celebrate international ‘Car Free Day’ on 22nd September.
Right up until the first person wandered onto the High Street that day and the last of the 5,000 people who came had gone home, we didn’t totally know if we would pull it off. But, of course – Wavertree rose to the challenge!
Thanks to the combined positivity and collaborative actions of our community and businesses, our local councillors, the council’s planning, events, licencing, roads and transport teams, the co-operation, understanding and re-routing of our local bus services, and with the support of Mayor Anderson and his team, we were able to close Wavertree High Street to motorised traffic for the day – with the critical exception, as shown in some of the pictures, of the ice-cream van.
A huge community effort realised a packed programme of activities throughout the day, with everything from baby yoga on the Rose Garden to a Ukelele band on the Town Hall steps. There was music from local bands, a community bake-off, dance troupes, cheerleaders, rickshaw rides, a farmer’s market, stalls from local shops and cafes – and even a live game of cricket in the middle on the High Street!
We were blown away by how much fun and joy and community spirit there was on the day, although we know that Wavertree has an abundance of all three. Love Wavertree was delighted to be able to use the occasion to mark 40 years of our local Rose Garden, tended to with love and care for all of those years by Joyce and John Edwards. The community came together to sing Happy Birthday to the Rose Garden and to present Joyce and John with birthday cake and flowers as a token of our grateful thanks, love and esteem. They were later invited to tea with the Lord Mayor at the Town Hall!
The day ended with a traditional sing along in The Prince Alfred, and maybe a well deserved pint or three. It had been so brilliant and inspiring to see our High Street come to life, and to see what we can achieve when we come together as a community. We absolutely loved our friend and neighbour Ronnie Hughes’ words reflecting on his experience of the day on his blog, which you can read here: A Sense of Place.
[Although the day was very much a collaborative effort, as Ronnie says in his blog, the lads from Vitality Homes (now Damien John Kelly House) played a huge role in making the event happen, and particularly in setting up on the morning of the event. Thanks fellas!]
What a great day for our High Street, and for our community.
We LOVE WAVERTREE.